yLess than a year ago, when the Australian tennis organization attempted the seemingly impossible feat of successfully luring the tennis world across the closed borders of the country in order to hold the 2021 Australian Open, several notables formulated the necessity of bringing the tournament into existential existence. reformers.
Craig Tilley, CEO of Tennis Australia, has warned that the event could be bought by other entities if it is not held. Daniel Andrews, the Victorian prime minister, mentioned possible fictional bids from China and Japan. In the end, Tiley gave the most confusing assessment: “The only reason we attract players here is because we offer a lot of prize money and spend a lot of time chasing them.”
Such claims have always been absurd and likely a negotiating tactic by Tiley. There was certainly a time when the Australian Open was the ugly duckling of the major tennis tournaments, held at the end of the year and an event many top players routinely missed. But in recent years, it has risen to join the other three major leagues as an essential part of the calendar. What it may lack in historical prestige, it more than makes up for in the way it has stayed ahead, constantly looking to update, expanding its vast stadiums for tournaments while becoming one of the favorite destinations for players in the process.
While her enhanced standing in the tennis world should have enabled the tournament to stand confidently in its success, it is clear that the efforts of Tiley and Tennis Australia have gone into providing a path for Novak Djokovic in the country so that he can compete for his 21st Grand Slam title despite Not being vaccinated has backfired amazingly.
Rather than being a tournament not dependent on its stars, this year’s Australian Open is bound to be remembered as the event that allowed itself to be defined and led by a single player that completely overshadowed the rest of the field.
This has already been evident over the past week as Djokovic’s arrest and ongoing legal battles have led international news cycles around the world. And it was even more apparent on Friday when Alex Hawke, the immigration minister, finally made his decision on Djokovic’s visa after days of deliberation. Hook was expected to choose to use his personal ministerial powers to revoke Djokovic’s visa for a second time.
Prior to this week, the Federal Circuit and Family Court in Australia had not used YouTube to broadcast the hearings, however on Friday more than 50,000 people watched the trends heard live online, and many spectators returned to watch the second round of proceedings despite how dry and frequent they were. . The incomprehensible Djokovic’s initial hearing was last week.
Djokovic’s presence now looms large at the Australian Open in many ways. In practice, there are many things that are uncertain about the men’s singles draw until his condition becomes clear. Under normal circumstances, apart from last minute withdrawals, each player in the lot will know their opponent in the first round and will be able to prepare accordingly. But here many of the players involved will have clarity on who they will face only once the Djokovic case is resolved in court.
As it stands, if Djokovic fails to return his visa before Tennis Australia issues the playing order on the opening day, his withdrawal will result in a last-minute reshuffle. Fifth seed, Andrei Rublev, will move to replace Djokovic at the top of the lottery, Gael Monfils, seeded 17, will take Rublev’s place, Alexander Bublik will become seeded 33rd in Monfils’ place and a lucky loser will be added.
What seems increasingly likely, however, is that the final decision won’t be made until after the play order is released on Sunday. If Djokovic is carried away, the lucky loser will replace him at the top of the lot, resulting in an unbalanced men’s singles tournament.
The days leading up to the Grand Slam event are supposed to be a time of increased hype and excitement, however it is already clear that Djokovic’s court proceedings will be receiving all the attention throughout the weekend. When news broke about Djokovic’s second visa revocation, Andy Murray was in the midst of a stellar performance, as he defeated Riley Opelka to reach the final in Sydney, the ATP Final for the second time since 2017, three years after apparently announcing his retirement at Australia.
Murray was one of Djokovic’s closest rivals and his opinion of Djokovic’s predicament is important. However, his apparent indignation after asking about the Serbs after the victory was understandable: “Here I say [Djokovic’s detention is] Not great for tennis, because we’re talking about other things and politics and all of that stuff. I prefer to talk about how happy and excited I am to be in the final of the tournament again.” He still gave a complete and thoughtful answer on the subject.
This has been a common sentiment all this week. Rublev, who himself was initially skeptical about last year’s vaccination, also said this. “I can just shrug my shoulders and regret that instead of tennis, everyone is discussing these things,” he told Russia’s TASS news agency.
Whether Djokovic’s visa is returned at the start of the tournament or if his deportation is confirmed, his shadow will live on in this tournament until the end. The Australian tennis player is likely to change with his role in this disaster, but regardless, the governing body will be in better service to understand that no player should be greater than a Grand Slam. Doing so only undermines the rest.